Moranth by Max Davenport

Moranth by Max Davenport

Moranth were a highly regimented people who were centred in the Cloud Forest of Genabackis.[1]

Moranth and Barghast were both descended from a sea-faring Imass culture that interbred with the Toblakai. It is possible that the Moranth may have interbred with the Tiste Edur, as they certainly co-existed alongside each other for a time.[citation needed]

The Moranth lived in valleys high above in the mountains of Cloud Forest, where they possessed fields of green farms, and canals for irrigation.[2] The Moranth had also built several towers in the mountains, where they presumably lived.[3]

The Moranth were at all times covered in chitinous armor, wearing helms with only small visor slots for sight.[4] Their armour was difficult to remove and, in fact, appeared to be sutured on.[5][6] In the case of Twist, his mangled hand was visible, proof, that there was a flesh and blood man inside the armour.[7] Moranth were so thoroughly encased in their armour that it was difficult to identify their sex.[8]

They spoke to each other in a language of clicks and buzzes[4] and on the whole were reticent in communicating with outsiders.[9] They spoke a clipped tongue that allowed them to communicate at a quick pace.[10] When necessary, they were capable of speaking in the native tongues of outsiders.[11]

The Moranth had domesticated enormous flying insects known as Quorl which they used as a means of transportation.[12] Their existence was not generally known and government agencies tried to keep it that way.[13]


Within the Moranth, colors denoted membership of different castes[11] or guilds. According to Malazan sources, the different clans (as the Malazans called the guilds) did not like to mix[14] and there was rivalry amongst them.[15]

Black MoranthEdit

Main Infantry[16] Some were resentful of the Golds' refusal to include them in military decision making.[11]

Blue MoranthEdit

Sailors and Traders. According to V'thell, the Blues tendered transport contracts with everyone.[17]

Gold MoranthEdit

Ruling caste[11] and elite infantry.[18] Resented by the Black Moranth for not including them in military decision making.[11]

Green MoranthEdit

Mainly a courier and transport clan[19][14]

Red MoranthEdit

Seemed to be Diplomats. Torn, a Red veteran, was attaché to the Malazan contingent under Aragan in Darujhistan.[20] Said by Balak to be the only other soldier caste among the Moranth besides the Black.[11]

Silver MoranthEdit

They were priests, sages,[11] and mystics, the closest the Moranth had to the Malazan perception of Mages.[21] They were thought to be the creators of Moranth munitions.[citation needed]


For an in-depth article see Moranth munitions

It was said that Moranth munitions made the Malazan Saboteur. The Moranth only traded some type of munitions as Ganoes Paran found out much later, when he raided a Moranth munitions warehouse via warren. Torvald Nom used some otherwise not seen alchemical devices which he had received as a token of gratitude for rescuing a Moranth.[22]

Alliance with the Malazan EmpireEdit

In 1156 BS, they allied themselves with the Malazan Empire.[23] According to Moranth custom, a contract was valid for as long as one of the signatories was still alive. As of events that led to the rise of the Tyrant in Darujhistan, at least one of the signatories, was still alive and therefore the empire contract still stood. Negotiators of treaties with the Moranth included Aragan, Tayschrenn, and Onos T'oolan.[24] It was also recorded that Emperor Kellanved and Cotillion were about the only known people to have found the Moranth and sneaked into the Cloud Forest where they lived.[25]

In the eighth year of the Genabackis Campaign, the Free Cities allied themselves with the Crimson Guard and others. According to the historian Imrygyn Tallobant, in that year the Malazan Forces under the command of High Fist Dujek Onearm consisted of the 2nd, 5th, and 6th Armies, as well as legions of Moranth.[26]

In the 1163rd year of Burn's Sleep, the Empire military was under the impression that Moranth munitions were getting scarce. When Whiskeyjack mentioned this to a Black Moranth, wondering about the generous supply he and his squad had just received, the Black replied 'selectively', and told him that assistance for him would never be scarce.[27]

By the time of the Pannion War in 1164 BS, a schism had occurred amongst the Moranth, triggered by a succession of Gold defeats. Afterwards, only the Black Moranth remained loyal allies of the Malazan Empire, although the Blue continued to operate the Malazan sea-lanes to Seven Cities.[12]



There was a long running rivalry between the Moranth and the the Free City of Pale over contested trade routes. The two mercantile powers were regularly at each other's throats and more often than not the city of Pale would win.[28]


The Moranth and the Barghast found themselves on opposite ends of a spectrum, both descending from their common ancestor, the Imass.


The Seguleh were ancient enemies of the Moranth going back to when both resided in Darujhistan.[29][30] The Moranth had devised their munitions with the preternatural martial skill of the Seguleh in mind.

Notable MoranthEdit

In Gardens of the MoonEdit

In the late winter of 1163 BS, as part of an agreement, a group of Black Moranth were allowed by Laseen to enter the city of Pale for one hour after the Siege had ended and exact revenge.[4] During that time, they killed 18,739 people, one for every Moranth confirmed as a victim of the trade war they had fought with the Free City.[31][32]

Around the time of the last Battle at Pale, Captain Paran was transported first by a Green Quorl from Genabaris to the Cloud Forest and then from there by Black Quorl to the, by then conquered, Pale.[12]

A day or two later, a dozen fliers of the Black Moranth picked up Whiskeyjack and his squad and conveyed them overnight to the northern shore of Lake Azur.[33][34] The crossing over the Tahlyn Mountains was hazardous as the Quorl were tossed about in the midst of three thunderheads.[34] The Green Moranth supplied the squad with a larger than ordered quantity of ammunition as Whiskeyjack was highly regarded by the Moranth and would always be able to rely on their generous assistance. The Moranth name for him was 'Bird That Steals'.[34]

In Return of the Crimson Guard Edit

The Gold Moranth under Commander V'thell allied themselves with the Talian League, under the command of most of the Old Guard, against the Empress Laseen and her Imperial troops.[35]

In the Battle of the Plains, the Gold Moranth fought against the Imperial troops, but when the Talian league surrendered, Urko and V'thell joined forces with the Imperial troops under Laseen to counter the looming threat of the Crimson Guard. [36]

In Stonewielder Edit

Fifteen years before the Malazan Expeditionary Force set sail for Korel, a thousand Black Moranth under the command of Borun were shipwrecked on Fist. They joined Overlord Yeull 'ul Taith and the "Black Hands" became the iron core of the renegade Malazan 6th Army.[37]

The Moranth-Malazan agreement underwent a major re-structuring where the Emperor Mallick Rel re-negotiated the Malazan treaty with the Moranth.[38]

The Malazan Command negotiated with the Blue Moranth to provide them their expertise and services in seafaring and naval warfare, at the beginning of the Malazan re-conquest of Fist.[39] To get to Fist however, the Malazans would have to go through the Marese, who were highly skilled seafarers.[40] The Blue Moranth, under the command of Admiral Swirl, helped the Malazans overcome that obstacle, using novel machinery to overcome the stiff Marese resistance.[41] They then re-established contact with Commander Borun's Black Moranth, and brought them back to the Malazan fold.

In Orb Sceptre Throne Edit

The Moranth were faced by the rise of one of their ancient enemies, the Legate of Darujhistan, actually a Jaghut Tyrant. They went on the offensive, bombarding the Seguleh, the Tyrant's army, with Moranth munitions.[42]

The Moranth then proceeded to attack Darujhistan itself under the overall command of the Red Moranth, Twist. They sortied under the command of the Silver Moranth, the Elect Galene, and attempted to destroy the Orb of the Tyrant on Majesty Hill in Darujhistan by attacking it with munitions from their Quorls. Should the attack fail to penetrate the Orb and destroy the Tyrant, the Moranth planned to effectively destroy the entire city by launching a large scale bombing campaign.[43]
Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Moranth.
Towards the end of the sortie, when she was about to signal failure which would have initiated a large scale bombing campaign by the Moranth, Galene found that the Seguleh were no longer bound to the Tyrant, whose effect had been neutralized. She then met with the First Seguleh, Dassem Ultor, who managed to convince her with the help of his Malazan roots, to allow the Seguleh to leave Darujhistan unopposed, on the condition that the Seguleh never returned. The attack was called off, and the Seguleh retreated, with the Tyrant effectively neutralized.[44]
Significant plot details end here.


"We forge our weapons so that they may never be used."
―Moranth saying[src]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Gardens of the Moon, Glossary, UK MMPB p.705
  2. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 14
  3. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 15
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.84
  5. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 4, US HC p.676
  6. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 6, US HC p.506
  7. Memories of Ice, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.457
  8. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 3, US HC p.649
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.113 - example
  10. Stonewielder, Chapter 8, US HC p.394
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 Kellanved's Reach, Chapter 17, US HC p.258/260
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.98-100
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.99-100
  14. 14.0 14.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.99
  15. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.158
  16. Stonewielder, Chapter 3, US HC p.132/137
  17. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1, Chapter 2, UK large PB p.58
  18. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.181
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.104
  20. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 1
  21. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 1, UK large PB p.49
  22. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 14
  23. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.10 Epigraph
  24. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, UK MMPB, pg. 752
  25. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 12
  26. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.10 Epigraph
  27. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.256
  28. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.84
  29. Orb Sceptre Throne,Chapter 2
  30. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 19
  31. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.257
  32. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.53
  33. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.156-160
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.256
  35. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1, Chapter 2
  36. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2, Chapter 6
  37. Stonewielder, Chapter 3, US HC p.132/137
  38. Stonewielder, Chapter 2
  39. Stonewielder, Chapter 2
  40. Stonewielder, Chapter 4
  41. Stonewielder, Chapter 5
  42. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 17
  43. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 19
  44. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 20
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